Termini projects, Kittinger OK'd for incentives

February 21, 2013 Updated Feb 21, 2013 at 8:44 AM EDT

By James Fink, Buffalo Business First

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Termini projects, Kittinger OK'd for incentives

February 21, 2013 Updated Feb 21, 2013 at 8:44 AM EDT

A pair of North Buffalo projects that would see vacant, industrial buildings re-born as mixed-use, residential-based projects have received financial incentives from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.

ECIDA directors approved separate incentive packages for the Houk Lofts and Distllery Lofts projects - both of which are being developed by Rocco Termini and are within blocks of each other. The projects mark Termini's first development efforts in North Buffalo, having previously focused on downtown Buffalo.

The Houk Lofts, set for a century-old, 28,000-square-foot Grote Street manufacturing site, will house 23 apartments - a mix of one-bedroom and two-bedroom units - and some commercial space.

The building has been vacant for more than 15 years. It is named for the former Houk Wire Wheel Co. that made wire wheels for the Pierce Arrow Co.

The project carries a $6.7 million development price tag.

The ECIDA tax breaks amount to $829,000 while it represents a $6 million overall community benefit.

"We hope this will be a catalyst for redeveloping the entire area," Termini said.

The ECIDA also approved incentives that were critical for Termini to redevelop the former FWS Warehouse building at 1738 Elmwood Ave. into the Distillery Lofts, another mixed-use project anchored by 32 apartments, along with a day-care center and distillery-styled restaurant.

The project carries a $20 million development cost.

At the same time, the agency formally approved a package requested by the Kittinger Furniture Co. to move and expand its operations. Kittinger will be moving from the Tri-Main Building in Buffalo to a former Clarence roller skating rink and expand the 22,000-square-foot building by 10,000-square-feet.

The $1.36 million project will see the renowned furniture maker create eight new jobs.

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